UNITED SIKHSWinner of the Sikhs and Charities Award
November 10, 2010
27th Katik (Samvat 542 Nanakshahi)
Press Release

Sikh Community Outreach in North Carolina Continues Advocacy through Presentations to TSA

Highlights:

  • UNITED SIKHS meets with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in Charlotte Douglas Airport (North Carolina) in response to recent increase in profiling cases

  • Sikh community is calling for increased education so that Sikh articles of faith are correctly identified and proper procedures are  followed

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA: Continuing advocacy meetings with lawmakers and government agencies on issues that most concern the Sikh community, UNITED SIKHS North Carolina members and volunteers partnered with Charlotte Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to educate TSA staff about Sikh culture, identity and articles of faith. The meeting that took place was in response to a recent spike in incidents of profiling of Sikhs at Charlotte Douglas Airport. The meeting was coordinated by TSA’s diversity committee and provided an excellent platform to outline some of the common problems and challenges faced by the Sikh community because of their unique identity. TSA employees also had the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the Sikh community.

The recent terrorist threats against the United States have resulted in increased levels of security and heightened passenger screening at airports. Sikhs have reported being subjected to increased screening measures due to a lack of understanding about Sikh articles of faith. The Sikh community is calling for increased education and awareness training so that Sikh articles of faith are correctly identified by TSA staff.

Mr. David Wray, Federal Security Director and head of TSA Charlotte began the meeting by saying, “Knowledge about other cultures dispels fears about them”. Ms. Sandra Holding, Assistant Federal Security Director of Law Enforcement noted, “Sometimes seeing, holding and feeling articles of faith makes a big difference and enhances media based training. The knowledge stays in the mind longer”.

 
UNITED SIKHS Projects Lead Pushpinder Singh presenting to TSA employees   Damanvir Kaur talking to TSA employees about Kirpan and Turban
 
Ms. Ana Bosnjak wearing a turban. Mr. David Wray and other TSA employees   awanjit Singh and Pushpinder Singh with Mr. David Wray, Federal Security Director

TSA employees were very welcoming, and they got first-hand experience holding and feeling a Kirpan. The TSA employees asked several questions regarding the Turban and the Kakaars. It was an immensely valuable educational experience for TSA employees and UNITED SIKHS members to have such a productive dialogue about the Sikh articles of faith.

"Personal interaction satisfies curiosity”, said Damanvir Kaur, a volunteer. TSA’s training department has offered to continue to work with the community to supplement media training with personal interactions and Q&A sessions. Those that attended this session also discussed conducting similar one on one workshops at other airport locations across North Carolina and South Carolina.

As part of the ongoing ‘Protect Our Identity’ campaign, UNITED SIKHS encourages everyone to report hate crimes, discrimination and profiling. UNITED SIKHS is thankful to Amarpreet Singh, Harpreet Singh and Ravinder Singh from Charlotte for sharing their TSA experiences.

 

To read a previous press release about UNITED SIKHS' ongoing advocacy work in North Carolina, click here: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-14-10-2010-00.html

If you or someone you know has been discriminated against during air travel, please contact the UNITED SIKHS legal team at law-usa@unitedsikhs.org.

Issued By:
Pawanjit Singh
Director
1-888-243-1690
law-usa@unitedsikhs.org

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Protect Our Identity Campaign

Protect Our Identity (POI) is an ongoing international campaign launched by UNITED SIKHS in August 2010 . It focuses on the need to protect the Sikh community's right to express its religious identity.  Initiatives under the POI campaign include:
 

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